August 12, 2021, 11:59 am
Welcome back, HoopBallers, to our International Spotlight feature where this week we will be taking a look into all the international players that were selected on Draft Night as well as some undrafted guys that were able to immediately secure Exhibit 10 or two-way deals.
Summer League is returning this offseason after a year of hiatus and most, if all, of the international rookies are expected to play and get some serious exposure before the new season begins.
As I’ve pointed out in my premium articles since February, the 2021 international rookie class seems to be a strong one, with a couple guys having serious All-Star potential and many more looking like players that will be able to carve out a career in the NBA for years to come, and this week my goal is to give you an idea about what to expect from them on the fantasy front.
18 years old, PG, 6’8”, 200 lbs, Australia – No. 6 by the Thunder
After failing to trade up the Thunder elected to go with Giddey who offers much upside as a 6’8” point guard who is a great facilitator and can see the floor, having already drawn many comparisons to fellow Aussie Ben Simmons. His stat set has some major flaws as his 3-point shot is not consistent and he struggles from the free throw line but he is just 18 and projects to be an all-around contributor.
Fantasy impact: Conservatively high but his offensive game looks limited at this point which should put a dent on his fantasy value early on.
Jonathan Kuminga – G League
18 years old, SF/PF, 6’8” 210 lbs, Democratic Republic of the Congo – No. 7 by the Warriors
Just before the draft I emphasized on how sky was the limit if Kuminga was able to land in a structured environment with the right coaches and player development personnel. This might have been a risky pick by the Warriors but it’s a great landing spot for the young forward who has shown flashes of serious All-Star potential. Many scouts and teams were turned off by the lack of urgency he showed in the G League but he looked fantastic in his first showing at the Las Vegas Summer League. Kuminga lacks efficiency and is a streaky shooter but he can score and create off the dribble, possessing above average ball-handling skills, making him a candidate for volume numbers.
Fantasy impact: Major upside and he should be at the top of your dynasty rankings
19 years old, G/SF, 6’9” 220 lbs, Germany – No. 8 by the Magic
The Magic are building around a nice young nucleus and they were glad to add to that by drafting Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner. Moritz Wagner’s little brother is a highly-skilled, highly intelligent, tall small forward who can make plays off the dribble and shoot from behind the arc, skills that project him to become the perfect high-level role player in the NBA even though 3-point shooting will be tested at the next level.
Fantasy impact: The lack of volume will likely limit his value early on but his versatility is intriguing and he should be a positive across many statistical categories.
19 years old, C, 6’10”, 240 lbs, Turkey – No. 16 by the Thunder (traded to the Rockets)
The Rockets were really high on Sengun and they didn’t hesitate to trade away a future first-round pick in order to land the charismatic big. The Turkish big is not a great athlete and his body needs some work, something that will be evident once he steps on the floor against bigger and better opponents, but he is a smart kid, great in pick-and-roll action and has shown the ability to dominate in the middle which translates to solid numbers across the board.
Fantasy impact: Sengun has serious double-double potential and the landing situation is ideal so feel free to take a close look at him starting this season
19 years old, SF/PF, 6’8”, 229 lbs, Spain – No. 23 by the Rockets
The Rockets found another gem towards the end of the first round and Garuba looks like a great fit with a young Rockets squad that is loaded with offensive talent. An excellent athlete who plays with high intensity, he looked very competent against team USA in the Tokyo Olympics with his defensive versatility and ability to guard multiple positions making him a very valuable commodity in today’s NBA. The Spanish forward has a pricey buyout with Real Madrid but Houston is already working towards bringing him over to Texas.
Fantasy impact: Projects to be a defensive specialist and his 3-point shot will determine his ceiling as right now he scores mainly off secondhand opportunities
19 years old, 6’11”, 210 lbs, Spain – No 30 by the Jazz (traded to the Grizzlies)
Aldama was a surprise pick for many but I love how the Grizzlies are taking a swing for the fences with a player that I was lucky enough to watch in person at his peak as a FIBA U-18 European Champion. The Spanish forward played in the Patriot League which makes many observers question his numbers but he is a two-way skilled player with range who needs to add some muscle and improve his FT shooting.
Fantasy impact: The dark horse of this class, make sure you have him on your watchlist
21 years old, PG/SG, 6’4” 194 lbs, Lithuania – No. 34 by the Thunder (traded to the Knicks)
Jokubaitis recently signed with EuroLeague powerhouse Barcelona B.C. which made him a prime stash candidate and the Knicks smartly took a flier on him.
Fantasy impact: N/A
22 years old, C, 7’0” 226 lbs, Portugal – No. 39 by the Kings
Queta is already 22 years old and profiles as an old fashioned big who can score, rebound and defend in the middle; he is slow, heavy footed and lacks shooting range, elements that could limit him in today’s NBA so it remains to be seen whether the Kings are able to develop him.
Fantasy impact: Low ceiling due to combination of age and skill set
19 years old, SG, 6’5” 185, France – No. 45 by the Celtics
Another stash pick, by the Celtics this time, who take a flier with a quick scoring guard with NBA level athleticism; he is expected to stay in Europe.
Fantasy impact: N/A
21 years old, PF/C, 6’11”, 225 lbs, Serbia – No. 50 by the Sixers
The Sixers selected former West Coast Conference Player of the Year Filip Petrusev of Gonzaga who averaged 12.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in his brief college career before going back to Serbia where last season he averaged 23.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from deep in the Adriatic League. The big man will be with the Sixers during Summer League, but he will stay overseas for the upcoming season as the minutes are not there for him in Philadelphia yet.
Fantasy impact: N/A
20 years old, C, 6’11” 235, Nigeria – No. 53 by the Sixers
Bassey is clearly a developmental prospect with much upside that has been slowed down by injuries but he projects as a quick and athletic big with a sneaky offensive game and some range. His draft position was extremely volatile and he ended up in Philadelphia but with the Sixers signing Andre Drummond Bassey is likely to spend much time in the G League.
Fantasy impact: Moderate upside and I like his odds of improving in the upcoming years
22 years old, PF/C, 6’11”, 240 lbs, Georgia/USA – No. 54 by the Pacers (traded to the Bucks)
Mamukelashvili was another surprise pick deep into the draft but he is one of the most ready-to-contribute products after four years at the collegiate level and the Bucks didn’t hesitate to sign him immediately to a two-way contract. A mobile lefty shooter who can handle and finish with both hands, his rebounding and overall defense need to improve but his offensive talent is what has been attractive to NBA teams.
Fantasy impact: Potential popcorn stat forward
20 years old, C, 7’1” 230 lbs, Serbia – No. 57 by the Hornets (traded to the Pistons)
A powerful old school big who operates on the low block, he is raw but he has intriguing size and the Pistons will likely allow him to spend much time in the G League
Fantasy impact: N/A
22 years old, G/F, 6’8” 195 lbs, Greece – No. 60 by the Hornets (traded to the Pistons)
Kalaitzakis was on my radar last year and I didn’t expect him to get drafted but hey, if your best friend from your playing days in Greece is Thanasis Antetokounmpo, whose brother is 2x MVP, Finals MVP and World Champ Giannis Antetokounmpo, you get a chance to be the No. 60 pick! Jokes aside, Kalaitzakis is a polished swingman who has played professionally the last four years and the Bucks seem invested into him, already offering him a two-way deal as next year should be a real test on whether he can be a contributor at the NBA level.
Fantasy impact: Potential 3-and-D swingman
Undrafted Rookies already signed
21 years old, PG/SG, 6’5” 180 lbs, France – On a two-way deal with the Lakers
Ayayi surprisingly went undrafted after he was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team averaging 12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 32 games last season. An athletic, tall and skilled guard who has above average passing skills, he projects to be a versatile combo guard and the Lakers were glad to add him to their roster where he will provide depth insurance.
Fantasy impact: Combo guard who projects better as a real player rather than a fantasy asset
Undrafted Rookies on Summer League rosters
19 years old, PF/C, 6’9”, 190lbs, Senegal – Orlando Magic
An athletic, lefty combo forward with length that can stretch the floor, he is already an above average defender who is polishing his offensive game and brings above average ball-handling skills.
23 years old, PF/C, 6’9”, 235 lbs, Austria / Georgia – Denver Nuggets
A small-ball center who struggles with his shot, he is energetic and brings a lot of intensity on both sides of the floor.
20 years old, C, 6’9” 220 lbs, Senegal – San Antonio Spurs
A defensive center who is not the best athlete but compensates with tons of hustle on both sides of the floor.
22 years old, SG/SF, 6’6”, 215 lbs, France – Memphis Grizzlies
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and a 2× SEC All-Defensive Team (2020, 2021) member, Pons is a freakish athlete and an elite rim protector who lacks size but has a reliable offensive game.
Oscar Da Silva
22 years old, PF, 6’9”, 225 lbs, Germany – Oklahoma City Thunder
A 2× First-team All-Pac-12 (2020, 2021) and Pac-12 All-Defensive Team (2021) member, Da Silva is a smart basketball player who projects to be a solid role player.
Thank you for reading our International Draft special and please make sure you stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.